College Football Odds, Pick for Navy vs SMU: Can Midshipmen Cover?
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – DECEMBER 10: Maquel Haywood #24 of the Navy Midshipmen scores a touchdown during overtime against the Army Black Knights at Lincoln Financial Field on December 10, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- The Navy Midshipmen meet the SMU Mustangs in AAC college football action on Saturday.
- SMU comes into the game as a -19.5 favorite with an over/under of 45.5.
- Read on for updated Navy vs SMU odds, including our top pick and prediction for Saturday's college football game.
Navy Midshipmen vs SMU Mustangs Odds
Welcome to Dallas, Texas, where we have an inter-conference clash with a ton at stake.
The SMU Mustangs will host the Navy Midshipmen on Saturday afternoon.
The Ponies can punch their ticket into the AAC Championship game with a victory, whereas the Navy can punch their ticket into Bowl Season with an upset win.
Despite the large spread, this is an intriguing matchup, so let's break down both teams and uncover some betting value as we look at the Navy vs SMU odds to make a prediction and pick in our college football betting preview for Saturday, Nov. 25.
I've been impressed with Navy's defense over the last couple of weeks. They held an explosive UAB offense to six points and shut out ECU last weekend.
However, this group will be put to the ultimate test against SMU. The Mustangs can beat you in multiple ways, so the defense must put forth their best effort of the season.
There is no lack of motivation in this game for Navy, considering they were pretty much written off about a month ago. Combined with the service academy angle, I think they will be ready to go from the jump.
I want to focus a lot of my attention on the Mids' defense because if they're going to win this game outright, it all begins in the trench. They are top-20 in both Rush Success Rate allowed and Line Yards.
They are more than capable of slowing down this SMU rushing attack. What jumps out is that this group is in the top 10 in Defensive Finishing and Quality Drives.
They are more than capable of slowing their opponents down, and even if they cross the 40-yard line, they struggle to punch the ball into the endzone.
I've been impressed with this secondary lately, which has been an issue this year. The fact they could contain the UAB passing attack two weeks ago speaks volumes.
Considering SMU loves to use up-tempo, this will be a massive part of this game. The Mustangs' offensive philosophy should help in this department, which we will dive into next.
Offensively, we all know the triple-option offense is slow and methodical. There isn't room for error, especially considering this is the best defense SMU has had in over a decade.
Digging into the advanced metrics, Navy is in the bottom 20 in almost every offensive category, notably Rush and Pass Success Rate. However, quarterback Xavier Arline has been terrific since he took over as the starter, so I won't put too much stock into these metrics.
The one outlier here is that SMU has not faced a triple-option offense all season, so this could throw a wrench in their defensive game plan.
If Navy can develop some methodical drives, they should keep this potent Ponies offense on the sidelines through most of this game. I don't know if they have the firepower to win outright, but this will be key if they stay within the number.
There's no questioning how good this Ponies team is; amazingly, they've been as balanced as they've been in years. Usually, this offense is a juggernaut, and the defense can't stop a nosebleed.
That isn't the case this season, and it's a significant reason this team is a win away from punching their ticket into the AAC championship game. While some defensive box scores may not look as pretty, including last week against Memphis, they have the chops to go toe-to-toe against any team in this conference.
Quarterback Preston Stone has looked the part since returning from injury, and he didn't need to do much last week to be explosive, throwing for 286 yards on only 23 passing attempts against Memphis.
The Mustangs' offense can be explosive at any time, primarily through the air. This offense is 12th in Havoc allowed, which is vital to their success.
Despite Navy's recent defensive performances, the secondary is still exploitable, so I expect the Ponies to pass early and often. This is one of the country's fastest and most explosive offenses, and they can beat you in so many different ways.
I realize there shouldn't be a lack of motivation for this SMU team, but considering the large spread, the Mustangs could come out a tad sleepy. They can't just roll out of bed and expect to put the pedal to the metal against a service academy team trying to earn bowl eligibility.
Defensively, I spoke about how good they have been in the trench. But I am concerned about their ability to create Havoc and keep their opponents out of the end zone.
If they allow Navy to run methodically down the field, there's a good chance they will come away with a touchdown. The Ponies' defense is 81st in Finishing Drives allowed.
Usually, that wouldn't be a concern due to how explosive their offense is. But this is precisely the game script that Navy wants to follow to keep their opponents off the field.
I think the Ponies have way too much firepower on offense to lose the game outright. But, I also see a world where their defense is unprepared against the triple-option, which could keep them in the danger zone.
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Navy and SMU match up statistically:
Navy Offense vs. SMU Defense
SMU Offense vs. Navy Defense
Pace of Play / Other
|Special Teams SP+
|Seconds per Play
It's a tale as old as time. I'll almost always bet on a service academy catching over two touchdowns.
I would hesitate more if Navy's defense hadn't improved so much recently, but the Mids look good.
I'm riding with Navy this week as it looks to pull off another improbable upset to punch its ticket into bowl season. At the very least, I think this offense is good enough to put up two touchdowns, which should be enough to cover this number with such a low total.
I am worried that Navy's secondary gets picked apart, but its performance against the Blazers two weeks ago tells me it can contain a potent passing attack.
It's a bit scary going against this juggernaut SMU offense, but I have faith Navy will do enough to stay within the number.
Pick: Navy +18 (Play to +17)
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